If you’re looking for a different way to see the lights this holiday season, don’t miss IlluminOdyssey, the new exhibit at CuriOdyssey. Described as a “winter light experience for kids,” this interactive installation is a unique combination of art, science and pure wonder. It is a delightful opening to the holidays and will enthrall both littles and parents alike.

IlluminOdyssey courtesy of CuriOdyssey

photo: CuriOdyssey

A Magical World of Light and Color

The exhibition, which is at CuriOdyssey through January 7, 2018, transforms the four-level Redwood Hall into an illuminated wonderland of glowing sculptures, kaleidoscopic light patterns on the wall and kid-sized play tents. Visitors are invited to touch, observe and play with everything they see in the space, and learn about the science behind how light behaves. IlluminOdyssey really takes CuriOdyssey’s science exhibits to a new level by creating an immersive environment that encourages kids to explore and observe their surroundings in different, thought-provoking ways.

Illuminodyssey by Leigh Simpson

photo: CuriOdyssey/Leigh Simpson

Light and Shadow Play

When you enter the exhibit at ground level, you find yourself in the Light and Shadow Play Zone, an area filled with kid-sized tents, light-up cubes and fiber optic displays to touch and explore. Make sure your kids pick up one of the glow-in-the-dark buckets so that they can use them to collect the light-up cubes hidden around the exhibition. Also, check inside the tents for the secret light projections!

Illuminodyssey Botanicals by Leigh Simpson

photo: CuriOdyssey/Leigh Simpson

A Glowing Light Garden

Another part of the exhibit sure to be popular with kids is the Astro Botanicals installation on the second level. These huge, inflatable sculptures designed by Vallejo-based artist Stan Clark are formed to resemble the shapes and patterns found in plants. Glowing gently from within, these sculptures invite visitors to take a gentle poke at their squishy exteriors, or simply meander through and admire their beauty.

Illuminodyssey Astro Botanicals 2

Water Droplet Floor, Shadow Walls and More

Other don’t-miss standouts in IlluminOdyssey include the intriguing water droplet projection floor, which reacts and changes with your movements over it; and the colored shadow wall, which invites endless jumping and posing in front of multicolored lights to turn your shadow into moving art. You undoubtedly will find it hard to get your littles to leave the exhibit and check out the rest of the museum.

Illuminodyssey Droplets by Leigh Simpson

photo: CuriOdyssey/Leigh Simpson

IlluminOdyssey combines the best of art, science and play. It’s fun, thought-provoking and also beautiful. While your kids enjoy exploring this one-of-a-kind playground, you may find yourself quietly enjoying its whimsical beauty.

Illuminodyssey Play Tents by Anita Chu

Making the Most of Your Visit

Entry to IlluminOdyssey is included with your admission to the museum. If you’re planning your visit, think about taking advantage of CuriOdyssey’s First Friday Family Nights: the first Friday of every month, the museum stays open an extra three hours until 8 p.m. Starting at 5 p.m., there is live music, plus food and drinks for purchase. Make your visit to CuriOdyssey even more fun with music and dinner.

Young girl at window courtesy of Curiodyssey

photo: CuriOdyssey

The Details

Hours: IlluminOdyssey is at CuriOdyssey through January 7, 2018, Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibit is closed on December 9 and 10.

Cost: $12.50/adults, $8.50/seniors and students (13-17), $9.50/kids (2-12), infants under 2 free. $6 parking fee.

Location: CuriOdyssey, 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo, CA

Online: curiodyssey.org

Have you been to CuriOdyssey to see IlluminOdyssey or their other updated exhibits? Let us know what you think below!

—Anita Chu

Photos by the author except where noted.